I wrote a week ago about the Civil Conflict and how the game and idea originated in the football office at the University of Connecticut. We know that neither UConn's athletic department and more importantly UCF knew about the game and idea. This is a UConn football thing only and when football extends into public relations and marketing, it becomes a bad idea. What sounds good to an audience of 100 (football team) and is used to motivate them sounds, quite frankly, ridiculous to the masses.
At the very best, UConn and head coach Bob Diaco creating a trophy game for a rival is a college athletics faux pas. Football should do football. Let others handle outside the lines.
At worst, it opens the school and Diaco up to ridicule. Why take the hit needlessly?
There are many things wrong with the game but the main point is this -- neither fan base wants it. UCF wants to battle South Florida for the I4 corridor and have spent most of the decade chasing after their in-state brethren for respect.
UConn fans/admins/media not wanting it?
First of all, UConn doesn't want to be in a league with UCF and would prefer to never play them again if it meant a Northeast rival in a Power 5 league. That's the truth. Everyone associated with UConn knows the landscape. Everyone is going to make the best of it. But, don't expect fans to embrace it.
UConn has struggled at 5-19 the last two years including 2-10 in Diaco's first year. It's a precipitous fall from owning Syracuse and having battles to the death with Rutgers. The Huskies have over 100 years of athletic history including over 100 years of playing college football. The best football can do for a rival is UCF from Orlando?
That's why you don't do these things unless all your ducks are in a row and sound it out to everyone involved.
I cringed in October when Diaco mentioned the 'Civil Conflict' in his press conference. It doesn't fit here, but no harm no foul, maybe it would go away.
Then the football staff made a trophy. That's when it hit the internet.
Nothing can take like wildfire like a chance to take an online cheap shot. The medium is setup perfectly for such attacks and they've come from almost every single secondary sourced internet site out there from Lostlettermen, SI's Extra Mustard and ultimately the grandfather of internet provocation in Deadspin (if you are on Deadspin, you made it, so congrats).
It's perfect because it's trivial.
I like all those sites. They are fun to read, funny and at their best call out power. At their worst? They are cynical and punch down to take cheap shots just because that's what they do.
The Civil Conflict, UCF's outright denial of the game, and then Diaco's quote on it Monday put UConn right back in the cross-hairs. It's perfect blog fodder.
Diaco's quote on Monday gave this more life.
"They don’t get to say whether they’re our rival or not,” Diaco said Monday. “We might not be their rival, but they don’t get to say whether they’re our rival. That’s for us to decide.”
It was Diaco not giving an inch and just deciding he doesn't care. At this point, why not? UConn and Diaco have already taken the heat, you mind as well have some fun with it.
Hey, I laughed when I heard it first. Maybe that initial reaction is best.
It's trivial and small-time. Can we move on please?